A Law and Business Exchange Designed to Pay Dividends
The University of Virginia School of Law and the UVA Darden School of Business piloted a new faculty exchange program this year meant to give graduates from both schools an edge in the business world.
"Our students and their students are going to have to work together in the workplace," said UVA Law Professor Rich Hynes, who crossed the street to teach The Law of Bankruptcy and Reorganization, a five-week course, to MBA students at Darden.
Hynes' class was preceded by five-week courses taught by Darden professors at the Law School: Investments and Valuation in Financial Markets, with Pedros Matos and Richard Evans, and Advanced Corporate Finance, with Elena Loutskina.
"The idea was to cross-pollinate," Hynes said. "You would bring in some Darden professors over here, to give our students additional exposure to valuation methods and other tools they teach over at the business school. The flip side is that we would offer them courses they would think particularly useful. Their business students need to know how to talk to their lawyers, and when they should call them."
Andrew N. Vollmer, the director of the Law School's John W. Glynn, Jr. Law and Business Program, said a longstanding goal of the program has been to help law students be more conversant in business language and concepts that their clients will use.
Likewise, Darden's leadership agreed that their students could benefit from more legal awareness.
"The business students do not need to be lawyers, but they will improve their decisions and their leadership if they have some background about the laws governing corporations, the ways to raise money by selling securities, or antitrust or bankruptcy rules," Vollmer said.
He and Hynes said, based on the students' initial enthusiasm, they hope the exchange will continue in the next academic year.
"I've been delighted the business students have been willing to engage with the legal materials, and bring to bear their business knowledge from prior work experience," Hynes said.
Third-year law student April Zhou, who took Investments and Valuation in Financial Markets, said she "greatly enjoyed" her experience with the Darden professors.
"It was super-interactive learning experience," Zhou said. "We had great class participation in discussions, the professors had very practical knowledge, and it was a great networking resource. Both professors are experienced and well-connected within the financial world, and I got to meet like-minded business law students in the class."